Each year, The Strong National Museum of Play inducts a new group of toys to the National Toy Hall of Fame. This year, the museum inducted three new toys: Dungeons & Dragons, Fisher-Price’s Little People figures, and the classic swing. The recognition for fantasy roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons is long overdue, as its innovative approach to playing complicated, creative games has had an outsized impact on the larger gaming world.
The museum, which inducts a new class of toys annually, specifically highlighted the role Dungeon & Dragons played in the larger gaming industry, noting that the game “helped launch the modern role-playing genre,” which numerous other companies have since utilized. Nicholas Ricketts, the museum’s curator, noted that the game “led the way to a completely new, multifaceted, and fantastic kind of play,” one that was particularly instrumental in setting the stage for other mediums, such as computer gaming.
Dungeons & Dragons was first published in 1974 by Gary Gygax. An avid gamer, Gygax began writing down the rules for a fantasy game that he had been playing with friends for a couple of years. Influenced by stories such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Conan stories of Robert E. Howard, he and a partner founded Tactical Studies Rules (TSR), and published the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons. From there, the game went on to become a major — and sometimes controversial — hit with players. “Nothing quite like Dungeons & Dragons had ever existed before,” Ricketts noted.
Finalists for the hall of fame this year also included “bubble wrap, Care Bears, Clue, coloring book, Nerf, pinball, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Transformers, and Uno.” Dungeons & Dragons, Fisher-Price’s Little People figures and the Swing now join other hall of fame inductees, such as the Atari 2600, Frisbees, and the cardboard box.